Pottery Vessel – 34Lf40/ 1507 (D148) (written by Alyxandra Stanco)
Pottery comprises a large part of the artifacts that were found at Spiro during the WPA excavations in the 1930s. This pottery vessel from the Spiro Mounds site is 17 cm in length, 12 cm in height and its orifice or opening is 9.5 cm in diameter. The vessel is globular shaped with the widest area being around the mid-line. There is a line that cuts around the middle of the pottery vessel and it seems to separate the top portion and bottom portion into hemispheres. Patterns on the vessel are reflected in both hemispheres. Two parallel lines run along the rim on both the top and bottom segments of the vessel. Brown (1996:365) categorizes this vessel as French Fork-like Agee incised.
Many pottery vessels from eastern Oklahoma are delicately decorated with shapes and motifs. This particular vessel is incised. Incising, according to Rice (1987:146) is cutting lines into a vessel with a pointed object. The surface of the bowl features triangles and squares connected by incised lines. One motif that is found on this vessel was described in the earlier Brown (1971:94) texts on pottery vessels as a whorl or “scroll band” motif. The vessel is burnished and is dark brown in color. There is no significant evidence as to whether the intricate designs on the surface of the vessel have any particular symbolic associations.
Culturally, pottery vessels served both a utilitarian and ceremonial function. According to Townsend (2004:240) this pottery vessel may have been used by the aristocratic elite to seek bonds from other settlements for military, trading and religious alliances. Sievert (2011) believes that this pottery vessel may have been part of a regional trade network during the time of the Spiro Mounds occupation. Pottery vessels similar to this might have also been used for food storage or cooking. During ceremonies, pottery vessels might have been used to hold a variety of substances.